Paddy Tunney is one of Ireland's finest singers, possessing a huge and varied repertoire, which he performs with consummate skill He combines masterful use of ornamentation and embellishments with delicate shadings and variations of vocal texture to fashion eleven crafted performances on this his eighth LP and his first on the Green Linnet label.
He tells his own story in a lyrical, compelling volume, The Stone Fiddle, published by Gilbert Dalton, Dublin, 1979. Those interested in Paddy's life history and in such matters as who sang songs, where and when they sang them, and what they meant to the singers and their audiences, would do well to buy a copy of the book. As well as being eloquent and informative it also contains the words and music to many of the songs in Paddy's repertoire and some poems he wrote himself.
In brief, he was born in 1921 in Scotland His mother Brigid Tunney was a great singer and Paddy learned many songs from her He has lived in various parts of Ireland, including Fermanagh, Derry, and Belfast Jails (for political reasons), Donegal, Dublin, Kerry, and Galway where he currently resides with his wife, Sheila. They have six children Paddy Og, Cathal, Brigid, Michael, Maura and John.
Paddy has been singing since he was four years old, and he continues to learn and perform new songs with vigour and flair virtually anywhere and anytime people are willing to listen He has visited America several times including summer 1976 when he performed at the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklife in Washington, D.C., and early in 1980 when he toured several American cities as a lecturer/performer under the auspices of the Irish American Cultural Institute.
Some have called Paddy "the man of songs", equally well might he be known as "the man of words" as he is never short of chat on practically any subject one could think of. He speaks about the songs recorded here in these excerpts from a late night talk we had in Philadelphia.